Senate Mulls Amendment in Spending Bill that Would Allow Euthanizing Wild Horses

wild horses
AP/Brad Horn

The U.S. Senate is considering an amendment to a spending bill to fund the federal government that could result in thousands of wild horses on federal land being euthanized.

The amendment would allow the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management — the agency responsible for wild horses on federal land — to be sold without stipulation that the animals won’t be slaughtered.

CBS San Francisco traveled to the Utah desert, 50 miles northwest of Cedar City, to witness a federally mandated round-up of this icon of the West. On this round-up BLM was capturing 50 head.

“When you have horses that close, when they come into a trap site, they’re very fresh, they have a lot of energy,” Gus Ward, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro lead for Utah told CBS.

This round-up comes after ranchers filed a lawsuit about the encroachment of wild horses on private land. The state of Utah settled the suit and the animals collected will be put of for adoption.

CBS reports that the fate of the wild horses could ultimately benefit from reducing the population. The land visited by the media outlet can support about 200 horses and BLM estimates there are as many as 700 living on the stretch of land — putting the horses at risk for starvation.

The round-ups are “hard to watch” as horses try to flee over the rough terrain before being led by a “Judas horse” into a corral.

Included in President Donald Trump’s budget for DOI is a provision for the “humane euthanasia” of excess horses and burros.

It would allow unrestricted sale of certain animals that could end up sold to foreign slaughterhouses, according to CBS.

The best thing people can do to help if they are able is to adopt a wild horse or burro. The agency said adoption numbers are down, with as many as 6,000 to 8,000 horses being adopted annually in past years. Today, BLM is adopting out around 2,000 to 3,000,

Simone Netherlands is with the American Wild Horse Campaign, one of dozens of groups fighting to stop BLM roundups altogether.

Netherlands said it is “fake news” that there are too many wild horses on 22 million acres owned by the government.

The BLM website explains where people can go to make an adoption.

“Elm Creek is the mid-states resting point for animals on their journey to either Off-Range Pastures in the mid-west or adoption events in the mid-west to the east coast,” the website states. “The facility is located on approximately 35 acres on Highway 183 north of Elm Creek, Nebraska and approximately 6 miles north of Exit 257 from Interstate 80.”

“The facility is located on the northwest corner of the intersection between Highway 183 and 100th Road.”

The website said people can adopt mares, geldings, burros and yearlings from most of the Western States that have wild horses and burros on public lands.

The website states that the facility is open to the public to view or adopt the animals Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except federal holidays and that appointments should be made.

The phone number is 308-856-4498.

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